Economics at your fingertips  

Optimal dynamic contracting: the first-order approach and beyond

Marco Battaglini () and Rohit Lamba ()
Additional contact information
Rohit Lamba: Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University

Theoretical Economics, 2019, vol. 14, issue 4

Abstract: We explore the conditions under which the "first-order approach" (FO-approach) can be used to characterize profit maximizing contracts in dynamic principal-agent models. The FO-approach works when the resulting FO-optimal contract satisfies a particularly strong form of monotonicity in types, a condition that is satisfied in most of the solved examples studied in the literature. The main result of our paper is to show that except for non-generic choices of the stochastic process governing the types' evolution, monotonicity and more generally incentive compatibility are necessarily violated by the FO-optimal contract if the frequency of interactions is sufficiently high (or equivalently if the discount factor, time horizon and persistence in types are sufficiently large). This suggests that the applicability of the FO-approach is problematic in environments in which expected continuation values are important relative to per-period payoffs. We present conditions under which a class of incentive compatible contracts that can be easily characterized is approximately optimal.

Keywords: Contract theory; dynamic contracts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D82 D86 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12-02
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Optimal Dynamic Contracting: the First-Order Approach and Beyond (2015) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Theoretical Economics is currently edited by Simon Board, Federico Echenique, Thomas Mariotti, Florian Scheuer, Ran Spiegler

More articles in Theoretical Economics from Econometric Society
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Martin J. Osborne ().

Page updated 2019-12-03
Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:2355